Bangladeshi Wedding: Muslim and Hindu

Bangladeshi Muslim Wedding

The wedding ceremony (Bengali: বিবাহ or বিয়ে Bibaho/Biye) follows the Gaye Holud(lit., "turmeric is applied to the skin") traditions. The wedding ceremony is arranged by the bride's family. The groom, along with his friends and family (Borjatri), traditionally arrives later in the evening.

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The groom is sent a car from the bride's side. He rides inside it with two elder male relatives, one from the bride's side and another from his own family (called his Borkorta), as well as the youngest male member from his family dressed as a groom (named his Neet bor, similar to the "best man" in western traditions). Before leaving for the wedding venue, the groom is blessed by his mother, and he formally seeks her permission to begin a new life with his soon-to-be "better half". At a Muslim wedding, the groom's mother leaves along with the groom and takes him to the Bride's house.


However, in contrast to the Hindu ceremony, the groom's mother presents the bride with jewellery and sarees and then changes into her wedding saree and jewellery in Muslim ceremonies. Later, the groom and his father and the bride's father meet to sign the official mahr contract, ritually giving the Bride a set amount of money as her dowry.

Bangladeshi Muslim Wedding/ Bangladeshi Hindu Wedding

In a Muslim ceremony, the bride and groom are seated separately, and family and friends of the same gender are. Each bride and groom with a 'Huzur' who asks both if they accept the other as their partners and if they say "Kabul" (meaning I get). Then they sign the wedding document and are officially married and then seated next to each other and ask for the blessing of their family and God. Then the music begins to play, food is served, and women, especially from the groom and bride's side of the family, dance, take pictures, and talk with the guests.


The following day (preferably before noon), a "Bashi Biya" is held, and the new couple leaves for the groom's house that evening. This is known as the bidaay(lit., "goodbye or farewell") ceremony.

When the bride is greeted by the groom in the morning of "Bou Bhaat", a ritual called "Bhaat Kapor" is initiated by the groom where he gifts the bride with essential accessories of a married woman, a sari and other auspicious things on a plate of silver (these items are given by husband only and not by in-laws of the bride); nowadays they also use other metals like brass etc. This signifies that the groom would hence be taking care of all the needs and requirements of his bride from that day onwards. After receiving all these items from her husband, the bride takes blessing from her husband and hence begins the rituals of "Bou Bhaat".


The main steps are involved in the Muslim Wedding in Bangladesh mentioned in the following: 

a) Pachini (Engagement)

b) Gaye Holud

c) Akth (Also referred to as the “Niqah” or Wedding)

d) Biye (Wedding Ceremony/Reception by Bride's Family)

e) Bou Bhat (Reception by Groom's Family)


Guidelines for Bangladeshi Muslim Wedding 

Marriage, in our society, represents not only the sacred union of two individuals but also the alliance of two families and extended relatives. Their level of involvement is so high that the bride/groom is usually chosen by the family. Even a few decades ago, the bride and groom only saw each other on their wedding day for the first time. In metropolitan regions, this pattern has shifted, and the younger generation now has a more significant role in picking their life mate.

Ghatak: The Matchmaker

The matchmaker always played an instrumental role in setting up the families of children who are to be wed. He is the man who resolves possible misunderstandings between the families. He reveals facts about the family history. Academic qualifications, employment, business, social associations and so on are all shared. Socially, families in rural and urban Bangladesh have used 'ghotoks' for a very long time. The matchmaker was a thorough professional who was fittingly paid for this service. Today, however, there are matchmaking websites, and it is an effective way to reach a large audience and clientele. The primary purpose of all this is called 'Palta Palti Ghar' to ensure it is the ideal match.

Paka Kotha: Boy Meets Girl

This is the day the prospective bride is visited by the prospective groom's family. They are actually meeting her family to exchange pleasantries and in a way acquaint with each other before the final agreements are made. Traditionally groom and bride did not meet but it is now customary for them to meet as well, as the sides deduce and gauge each other. The girl is demurely attired in a sari or an ethnic suit. The boy likewise is casually dressed.


Panchini: Engagement

This is the official engagement. It is a tradition in Bangladesh and the region to give guests two betel leaves and areca nuts on any auspicious occasion. Thus the name was derived from the servings. 'Paan' (betel leaf) being served with silver foil signals festivity and during such propitious occasions, it is also common to bring sweets. These gestures of friendship and a heartening promise.

Banns of Marriage: The Announcement

This is the ceremonious announcement of the intended marriage, also allowing objection. In the old days, it was physically made within the community and it is now sometimes posted on social media. It allows people to be notified about the impending wedding dates so that the invitees keep themselves free. Secondly, it also introduces the wedding couple to the respected relatives and friends.


Ai Buro Bhat: A Special Feast

This refers to the last meal that the bride-to-be enjoys in her own home before she is married off. It calls for a mini-feast where the bride's extended family and close friends join in the celebrations and wish her all the best. The 'ai buro bhat' feast consists of typically Bengali fare such as rice, fish, luchis, vegetable preparations and sweets such as rice puddings and other traditional delicacies.

Conversely, close friends and relatives sometimes s invite the would-be bride to their house for a feast and celebrate the forthcoming wedding where all their favourite dishes are prepared.

Ganer Jolsha: Live Music

Musical soirées are a wonderful way to have a pre-wedding party. Love songs from the past and the present are sung by friends and family.  Although professional singers are hir these days, the general idea is and should e to participate in the singsong experience. In recent years spoken parlour games are often played. This is popular and a cultural import from our neighbouring nations. Dancing also revitalises the spirit of the party. This is a late-night event where tea, savouries and sweets are served.


Ruhi Fish: A Wedding Observance

Our custom is to send a pair of 'ruhi fish' to the bride's home on the morning of the holud ceremony. Fish in Bangladesh symbolise fertility, eternity, good fortune and wisdom. It is accepted and taken as a beautiful gesture of blessing. The pair of fish is dressed in fun and amusing attires, typically a sari and lungi, to add some humour to the presentation. The size of the fish is exhibited and paraded to show the breeding and generosity of the groom's family. It is also a time-honoured tradition to cook the fish for distribution amongst close relatives or eat together with family.

Gaye Holud: Pre-wedding Ceremony

This is a pre-wedding ceremony for both bride and groom. In the past, it was a family affair where womenfolk would participate and men were not permitted in the rituals of a pre-wedding beatification ceremony. The brides got exfoliated with turmeric and other fragrant herbs. Now, holud events are very elaborate with the bride's holud taking place the day before the groom's.

The trousseau of gifts and sweets is carried on this day. They are wrapped and packed beautifully making a clear statement about the theme of the wedding. The entire process is good fun.

Family and sometimes friends put in their share to make the presentations look magical. Clearly, there is a healthy competition between the two groups to outdo each other with their personal styles. The observance of touching the turmeric and smearing it on the forehead is a ceremonial tradition. The brides are now seated before an assortment of finger foods mostly traditional pithas (rice cakes) and some savouries that are fed to her as a favour of approval.

Traditionally poems were read out to mock family and friends using humorous parodies that brought a hearty laugh to the guests, all done in good taste. The highlight of the holud in yesteryears was playing with colour both dry and wet. In the past, it was a small family affair, intimate and personal, while today, this is a lavish event, and lip-syncing and performing dance routines to Bollywood songs have become central to the events.


Mehendi: Henna Ceremony

This is a ceremony during which the bride's hands and feet are decorated with intricate patterns by applying henna. It is believed that the deeper the colour of the Mehendi (henna), the stronger the groom's love for the bride. There is music and dance at this ladies-only party where all the female friends and family wear henna to celebrate the joyous moment. When the bride goes to the groom's house, she is not expected to do any housework until her henna has faded away.

Nikah: The Acceptance

In a Muslim wedding, the 'nikah' is the wedding ceremony. It is usually held in the bride's home. The Kazi conducts the ceremony while close relatives witness the event's happening. The Kazi reads certain verses from the Qur'an, and after that, the proposal and acceptance take place.

In a Muslim wedding, the legality of the marriage, mutual consent, is of prime importance. During this ceremony, the families decide the amount of 'Mahar', the mandatory monetary gift the groom must pay to the bride. The 'nikah-Nama is a legal document signed by the bride and the groom that contains a set of terms and conditions that must be abided by both the parties. This is a morning or afternoon ceremony.


Bor Jatra: Wedding Procession

The groom's journey begins with a special prayer and a turban tying ceremony, blessed by his mother and other elders. Traditionally the groom is handed down his father's turban material for good luck. This nuptial step towards wedlock is very auspicious to the groom's family.  Sometimes a 'sehra' or a flowered veil is applied to the turban, which is also very symbolic, to avoid the evil eye.

The family proceeds with the procession with the younger ones in the front and the older and more mature members at the rear. The groom is somewhere in the centre. In earlier times, depending on their affluence and social standing, grooms were mounted on elephants or horses or even sat in horse-drawn carriages to their wedding. Today, an entourage of cars is used and the groom's vehicle is adorned with floral embellishments.


Biye: Wedding

The wedding is an extravagant and fanciful event. Floral ornamentation, elaborate settings for the stage, and sit down areas are all critical. The ambience is made to echo the grandeur of the bygone era. Some of the popular themes are regal, classic, modern, vintage and outdoor.

The ambience does look enchanting and delightful. The 'rusmat' ceremony is held before a large audience. The bridegroom and bride are put under a single veil and the groom at first glance of a mirror held before the couple is asked to pronounce her loveliness.

The bridegroom is also held hostage at the gate before he enters the wedding venue when the young cousins and friends of the bride ask for prize money.

Konya Bidhay: The Bridal Farewell

It is customary for the bride's father to give away the bride to the groom.

She is given farewell with the blessings of her parents and relatives to start a new life with her significant partner. It is a highly emotional moment, joyous for the boy's side and melancholic for the girl's family. In earlier times in Bangladesh, the bride would be required to travel far because well do land families were few and lived far away from each other. Today they may be living in the same neighbourhood.


Bodhu Baran: Welcoming the Bride

Once the couple arrives at the groom's house, the newlyweds are greeted at the doorstep with prayers. The mother of the groom takes the initiative. Amongst Bengali Muslims, this ritual can be simply performed with prayers from the Holy Qur'an. During this ritual, some use husked rice to signify good harvests and abundance and grass to symbolise the land she will walk upon. The welcoming plate is laid out with welcome sweets and an oil lamp representing an infinite spirit of love and bonding. Sometimes the bride may be asked to step on lac dye and milk that permanently heralds her first imprint and step into her new home.

Bashor Ghor: Wedding Night

Traditionally, the bedroom is prepared for the wedding night. Fragrant flowers are used to make a string curtain hung on the poster bed or laid on the bed like a bed of flowers. The 'Bashor Ghor' 's entire arrangement aims to encourage conjugal bliss.

Shokaler Nashta: Breakfast

The first meal of the day following the wedding is essential to many Bangladeshi families. It is a time-honoured custom for the bride's family to send this meal to the groom's home in an elaborate assortment of traditional delicacies. Homemade desserts and appetising snacks of a large variety are exhibited, such as parathas, kababs, curries, plain or sweetened pitas (rice cakes) and fruits.


Bou Bhaat: Post-wedding Reception

This is a wedding banquet held by the groom's family to honour the newlyweds and introduce them to their family and friends, many of whom meet the bride for the first time. It is also an opportunity to return favours to the bride's family for their hospitality.

It is common for guests to shower gifts on the new at the wedding and the 'Bou Bhaat'. In the past, this was a meal or feast that was personally cooked by the bride for her in-laws and close family members.

The Bangladeshi wedding has undergone a metamorphosis of change in all aspects, whether cultural, social or design artistry. The subtleties that defined our heritage weddings are now presented in globalised scales and styles. One can no longer be confined to local ideas as the world is our new design inspiration. We should not abandon but rather preserve and nurture the cultural norms that connect us to our ethnic origins.


Bangladeshi Hindu Wedding

Bengali Hindu wedding refers to the traditional Bengali wedding, usually with Hindu rites and rituals native to the Indian subcontinent.

Read: Tips for Healthy Relationships and Marriage

Read: Relationship Status | Significance in Women’s Life

Arranging the wedding

A traditional wedding is arranged by Ghotoks (matchmakers), who are generally friends or relatives of the couple. The matchmakers facilitate the introduction between the families of the prospective bride and groom.

Bengali weddings are traditionally in four parts: Gaye Holud, the groom's Gaye Holud, the Beeye, and the Bou Bhaat. These often take place on separate days. The first event in a wedding is informal: the groom presents the bride with a ring marking the "engagement", a system that is gaining popularity. This can sometimes be considered Ashirwaad.

There can be subtle differences in Bengali Hindu marriages in West Bengal from the ones taking place in Bangladesh. The rituals sometimes differ. In Paaka Katha (final talk), the parents of the bride/groom and one or two very close relatives/friends go to the other party's house to formally settle the marriage. It may be followed by a lunch/dinner.

Bengali Aiburo Bhaat Thali is the meal a bride-to-be (or a groom-to-be) eats during a bridal shower ceremony (and before the actual wedding ceremony) in a Bengali household.


A Bengali Hindu Marriage can be divided into the following parts:

a) Pre-wedding rituals: Adan Pradan, Patri Patra, Ashirvad, Aai Budo Bhaat, Ananda nadu, Vridhi, Dodhi Mangal, Holud Kota, Adhibas Tatva, Kubi Patta, Snan, Sankha Porano

b) Wedding rituals: Bor Boron, Potto Bastra, Saat Paak, Mala Badal, Subho Drishti, Sampradan, Yagna, Saat Pak (couple), Anjali, Sindur Daan and Ghomta

c) Post-wedding rituals: Bashar Ghar, Bashi Biye, Bidaye, Bou Boron, Kaal Ratri, Bou Bhaat, Phool Sajja, Dwiragaman

Pre-wedding rituals


On an auspicious day, the elders of the groom's side go to bless the bride and vice versa by sprinkling husked rice and trefoil on their heads and giving them gold ornaments. It indicates acceptance of the prospective couple on both sides.

Gaye Holud

A ceremony in which five or seven married women of the groom's household grind turmeric with mortar and pestle and anoint the groom with turmeric paste. This paste is then sent to the bride's home to be applied on her forehead, a new sari for her to wear, and gamchha (Bengali cotton towel) and other gifts sent from the groom's family.

Dodhi Mongol

At dawn on the day of the actual wedding, seven married ladies adorn the bride's hands with the traditional bangles Shakha and Paula – one pair of red and one pair of white conch-shell bangles, and feed her a mixture of yoghurt and rice and nowadays other dishes as well. This is the only meal, after which the bride and her parents fast the whole day. This ritual is celebrated on the groom's side also.


Main wedding rituals

Bor Jatri

The bride's family sends the groom a carriage or festively decorated car. Before leaving for the wedding venue, the groom is blessed by his mother, and he formally seeks her permission to begin a new life with his soon-to-be wife. The bridegroom is accompanied in the wedding carriage by two older male relatives, one from the bride's side and another from his own family (called his Borkorta) and the youngest male member from his family, who is dressed as a bridegroom. This role is called his Neet bor, similar to the "best man" in Western traditions. The members of the groom's house and his friends dress in their best attire and journey to the bride's house, where the wedding will take place.

Bor Boron

When the bor jatri reaches the bride's home, the mother of the bride and other members usually come out to welcome the groom and his family by showing the holy earthen lamp, sprinkling trefoil, and husked rice placed on a bamboo winnow (kula). They are then served sweets and drinks.

Potto Bastra

The groom is seated at the chadnatolla (wedding altar and canopy), or the sanctum sanctorum, where only the groom, bride and the priest take their place. After sitting, the groom is offered new clothes by the person who is to do the sampradaan. The elderly male member of the family who does sampradaan provides the bride's responsibility to the groom.

Saat Paak

The bride, usually seated on a low wooden stool called a pidi, covers her face with paan leaves, is lifted by her brothers and is taken around the groom in seven complete circles. The significance of this process is that they are winded up securely to each other.

Subho Dristi

After saat paak the bride and the groom are made to look at each other in front of all the assembled invitees. The bride is told to remove the paan leaves. This exchange of loving glances initiates them to be together officially by the society.

Mala Badal 

After the circles are completed, still sitting high on the piri, the bride and the groom exchange garlands of fragrant flowers thrice. This is the first step in which they accept each other.


The bride then takes her place at the chadnatolla, where an elderly male member of the bride's family hands her over to the groom, and the couple's hands are bound by the sacred thread amidst a recital of Vedic chants. Their hands are placed on the mangal ghot, or a brass pitcher filled with water covered with mango leaves attached to one twig and a green coconut placed on it.


The bride and groom sit in front of the sacred fire and chant mantras after the priest. Agni, the fire god, is made the divine witness to the marriage. See Vedic marriage.


The saptapadi in Bengali weddings is quite different from what is popular ("phere") in many other parts of India. There are seven betel leaves laid out in a sequence. The bride steps on these leaves, followed by the groom. The groom moves a particular stone, "Nora" (typically used for crushing and pasting spices), with his foot as they move forward.


An offering to the fire is made. The bride's brother puts puffed rice (Khoi) in the hands of the bride, and the groom standing close to her holds her hands from the back and extends their arms forward. They then pour the offering into the fire together.

Sindoor Daan

Sindoor Daan and Ghomta – Once again seated at their respective places in chadnatolla, the groom applies sindoor or vermilion (a symbol of marriage worn by Hindu women after that) on the bride's hair parting. During the sindoor daan, the bride's head is covered with a new saree given by the groom's family. This is known as "lojja bostro".


Post-wedding rituals

A ceremony welcoming the newlywed bride to her new home, with the feet dipped in a mixture of milk and Alta.


This is a farewell – the mixed moment of joy and sorrow as the bride is bid adieu with the blessings of her parents and relatives to start a new life with her beau. The bride has to throw rice in her mother's sari to fulfil her mother's responsibility to her (as it is considered that the bride is the Groom's responsibility).

Bodhu Boron

This is done when the bride reaches the groom's house. One dish is made complete with Alta and milk. The bride stands on it and then enters the room with the groom after being welcomed by the mother-in-law.

Kaal Ratri

After the couple reaches the groom's house and the initial welcome ceremony is over, they are separated for the night, probably to get a refreshing sleep and prepare for the next day's final wedding ceremony.

Bou Bhaat

The bride cooks and serves all the members of her husband's family. The husband has to gift a sari to the new bride and takes a vow to take responsibility for the bride's basic needs ("Bhaat Kapor" - literally meaning food & dress). A banquet is held to treat the guests who lavish gifts on the new bride.

Phool Shojja

The couple and their bed are adorned with flowers and are left together in their room. Friends of the couple stay under the bed or by the corner of the door. The groom needs to check for these interlopers before he begins to talk to the bride.

Arranging a wedding

Arranging a wedding is a relatively complex affair with many moving parts. Even a simple wedding requires 5–8 vendors and 300–500 guests. To simplify the process, there are event management companies that help in executing the strategy. Food selection and menu creation for the dinner party are essential aspects of successfully arranging a wedding.

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